8 Warm Outfit Ideas for Dining Outside When It's Cold

Over the past few years, we’ve all become accustomed to dining outdoors. Although this activity was formerly considered a holiday pursuit, in the midst of lockdown, local eateries and restaurants had no option but to throw open their doors and line the streets with bistro tables as a way to serve their customers. With restrictions behind us for the most part, al fresco dining continues to be a big part of eating-out culture. 

But dining outdoors is going to take a little preparation, so let's discuss it. As someone who is always freezing, I think I'm well-suited to speak on the topic of dressing for warmth without sacrificing your sense of style. The thing that makes outdoor dining such a challenge is that you can't sit there and eat your soup in a puffer and scarf and not be uncomfortable (but if you can, tell me your secrets). You're going to want to wear warm base layers and choose your outerwear carefully, and hopefully, there will be heating. 

To guide you, below, you'll find eight perfect outfit ideas for outdoor dining, whatever the weather, along with a tip to glean for each and what to buy to see you through until the weather actually gets warm again. Good luck out there.

Outfit Tip: Wear Warm Accessories

Outdoor dining outfit: wear warm accessories

Photo:

@aemiliafay

My friend (and former Who What Wear editor!) Aemilia is my outdoor-dining muse with this look. Note the hat and cosy socks. Chic, warm accessories are key here. You want to leave as little skin as possible exposed, but when it does get warmer, you've got the layers to peel off. 

Outfit Tip: Top a Sweater With an Oversized Blazer

What we're going for here is outerwear that you don't need to take off when you sit down to dine. An oversized blazer is perfect—just make sure that your sweater is warm and high-neck and that your blazer is made of wool or leather.

Outfit Tip: Order a Shacket ASAP

Outdoor dining outfit: order a shacket ASAP

Photo:

@claire_most

Shackets are a trend this season, and they happen to make for a great non-bulky jacket. Opt for one that's made of wool or thick flannel, and if you want to wear a coat over it, make sure it's a little more slim-fitting like the Isabel Marant one below.

Outfit Tip: Wear a Sweater That's Heavy Enough to Wear When You Take Off Your Coat

When feasible, skip the coat and wear your warmest, wooliest sweater (preferably with corduroys). 

Outfit Tip: Long Sleeves Are Key

Outdoor dining outfit: roll necks are key

Photo:

@polliani

Aim for long sleeves to layer up in and keep the chill at bay. Try a joyful colour on your coat to make it feel at least a little spring-like. 

Outfit Tip: Go Oversized

Outdoor dining outfit: reconsider tights

Photo:

@asos_lotte

If you can't forgo a jacket just yet (and, let's be honest, who can?), ensure it's oversized so there's more material to keep you warm and more space to layer a suitable knit or sweatshirt underneath if needed. 

Outfit Tip: Pair Your Jeans With a Long Coat 

I hate to break it to you, but when you’re dining al fresco in Britain, there’s always a chance that it’ll rain. Protect yourself from the elements in a trench coat, which pairs perfectly with a pair of jeans (I advise straight-leg pairs to minimise draught on the leg). 

Outfit Tip: Try a Bomber Jacket or Cropped Puffer

If it's cold enough to require a puffer but you're sick of wearing one, try a bomber jacket or a cropped puffer for a twist on the cold-weather coat. Ideal for wearing with your spring outfits. If you need extra insulation, add a bodysuit into the equation. 

Next up, the biggest summer 2022 fashion trends to know. 

This piece originally appeared on Who What Wear U.S. 

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